MUN refuses to disclose speaker fees

Updated ATIPP file with additional information.

Memorial University has refused access to the Reimagining Leadership 2022 conference speaker fees. Download the invoices below:

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

Matt holds up a sign

Matt Barter, Bob Buckingham, and Kenneth Harvey.

See below the transcript for Kenneth J. Harvey’s film trailer “MATT HOLDS UP A SIGN”:

November 1972 Memorial University student occupation of the Arts & Administration building

Bob Buckingham: So, we closed off the building, locked all the doors. We had guards on these doors, there’s only one way of getting in and out of the building. We shut down finance, we shut down the Registrar’s office. We chained every single entrance in this building. This was full, it was full down that way and full down that way. We fed anywhere from 200 to 1000 people. We ended up staying here for 11 days.

Kenneth Harvey: And what were the repercussions to you from Memorial University?

Bob Buckingham: To me? Well, there was nothing.

October 1980 Parkway Vigil

Kenneth Harvey: None of these fences were here. There were no overhead walkways here. A group of us came back from the Thompson Student Centre and started walking back and forth across the crosswalk. That stopped traffic. Police were called and tried to disperse us; it didn’t happen. The traffic was being detoured down Elizabeth Avenue, so we decided Monday to go down Elizabeth Avenue and block Elizabeth Avenue as well. Both main arteries were shut down. People were trying to move us with their cars. Cars were actually pushing us, and we were banging on them. But we shut down the city, nobody could move in St. John’s, nobody could move to Memorial University.

What type of action did Memorial University take against you for protesting?

Kenneth Harvey: Nothing.

December 2021 Matt holds up a sign

Matt Barter: It was a pretty small audience, 30 to 40 people maybe. So, the podium was around here. When Dr. Timmons got up to speak, I also got up, I held up this sign and then after that I sat down.

Kenneth Harvey: What sort of action did MUN take against you?

Matt Barter: They banned me from campus for 3 months and then they implemented a one-year probation sentence.

Kenneth Harvey: And what did the one-year probation sentence entail?

Matt Barter: They still haven’t told me that even though they implemented it in March like 5 months ago.

Matt Barter: They seem to really want to punish.

Kenneth Harvey: Why?

Matt Barter: Because they think I’m an easy target.

Kenneth Harvey: But for what reason? Why are you an easy target?

Matt Barter: Because I’m a student who has autism, so they think of me as an easy target. I think that MUN sees me as somebody who they thought wouldn’t be able to stand up for themselves.

CBC On The Go with Anthony Germain featuring Kenneth J. Harvey

Anthony Germain and Kenneth Harvey.

On August 31st, 2022, documentary filmmaker Kenneth J. Harvey took part in a segment on CBC Anthony Germain’s show “On The Go.” CBC titled the episode after Harvey’s film trailer “Matt holds up a sign, and their description states, “Matt Barter has been a thorn in the side of Memorial University president Dr. Vianne Timmons since tuition hikes were announced last summer. Their feud has become the subject of a supreme court battle… and now a documentary.” Below is a transcript of the episode:

Anthony Germain: When Memorial University announced plans to double tuition in 2021, there were protests, nothing massive though, nothing huge. But one student, Matt Barter, was dedicated to keeping up with the pressure about those tuition hikes and so last December, Barter stood near MUN President, Dr. Vianne Timmons, during a public meeting and he held up a sign. It was in the shape of a small red stop sign and it simply said, “Stop Vianne” and that is where his trouble started and an eventual ban from campus and that story and the sequence legal battle caught the attention of our next guest documentarian Kenneth J. Harvey who is in the studio. Good afternoon.

Kenneth Harvey: Afternoon. Thanks for having me in.

AG: I’m glad you could come in. I want to start with the trailer that you released just yesterday, right?

KH: That’s right.

AG: You looked at the massive protests that many people listening will remember. I remember some of these stories actually being covered in the national news.

KH: They were big, the parkway in particular.

AG: 1972 and 1980 where students literally shut down parts of the school and the city in 1980. What was the purpose of that cinematic juxtaposition?

KH: Well, it was just to show, we started in 1972, there were thousands of students occupied the Arts and Administration building in 1972 and they were there for 10 days I believe, 10 or 11 days. I interviewed Bob Buckingham about his participation, the local lawyer and asked, “what happened to you? what were the disciplinary measures against anybody?” and nothing.

AG: Right.

KH: And then with the Parkway Vigil I was part of that in 1980.

AG: That’s just around the corner here.

KH: That’s right and we shut down the parkway when Judy Lynn Ford was killed by a dump truck. We came out and it was thousands of people, we shut it down. The police came and tried to disperse us, and nobody was going anywhere and then we heard that they were detouring traffic down to Elizabeth Avenue so then the next Monday after the weekend we shut that down too. As I say in the trailer, they’re trying to move us, people were pushing us with their cars, we shut down the city. We shut off the two main arteries, so the city was shut down.

AG: Student protestors making a point.

KH: Exactly and then you know how was I dealt with from MUN? Nothing. And then cut to Matt Barter in a room standing next to the president with 30 people there and he holds up a sign and he’s banned for three months. You know he’ll allowed to attend classes, but he has to check in with security like a criminal every time he comes on campus. And the sign just to add about the sign, the sign said “Stop Vianne” but underneath it was you know stop tuition hikes and there was some other print there as well right, but the main thing was Stop Vianne. And he’s had a big problem with the new president. I mean she’s not the first president that he butted heads with, the last president Gary..

AG: Kachanoski.

KH: Yeah, he, I mean Matt, did the same sorts of things.

AG: He’s persistent.

KH: He’s very persistent yeah. He’s an army of one you know but he was also concerned and I was too when I heard of the story of the $50,000 that Vianne spend on redoing her office and I actually went over on the campus and into the tunnels and around and looked at the infrastructure with Matt pointing out the leaking, the puddles of water on the floor, and the elevators not working, the rusty ceilings and everything.

AG: I think young Matt Barter has probably filed more access to information requests than a good number of people in this very building. He’s persistent, right.

KH: They actually limited him now.

AG: Have they?

KH: Because it’s just constant but I mean that’s him, he’s persistent and these days you know who’s protesting? It’s pathetic that this guy gets banned. I mean I was an activist; I mean you look back at the days where people were passionate about things, and you know he’s one guy doing this.

AG: Yeah. I certainly had discussions with people at Memorial University about the reaction and the stance the university has taken with him, and I’ve also interviewed Kyle Reese, Matt’s lawyer on a couple of occasions and I’ve interviewed Matt himself. What is it about him that gets, what do you think that it is about him that gets under Vianne Timmons’s skin to the extent because the legal proceedings, the ban, these kinds of things can’t happen without the thumbs up at the very top, right?

KH: Right.

AG: Because you know a PR strategy would be, you know what ignore him.

KH: Oh man, PR, come on. When I saw this, I said who is running the public relations at MUN? My God almighty. The things is you know first and foremost understand autism. Right, have somebody in there you know to deal with someone in the administration you know as a liaison to deal with people you know issues of any sort. They don’t right now, I interviewed the ex-VP as External with the MUN Student Union. And she has OCD she said and there’s nobody on campus to help, to faciltate..

AG: People with exceptionalities.

KH: But they’re also taking down you know posters there, the students’ union put up posters in support of Matt, they were all taken down.

AG: They didn’t have the right stamp on them or something?

KH: They’re just not allowed to put posters up there anymore without the permission of the university. I mean it’s insane.

AG: It usually results in spray paint from what I recall.

KH: Someone said to me they need a good week of graffiti.

AG: I’m not advocating that.

AG: Listen I want to play a clip from the trailer that you released yesterday towards the end you’re speaking with Matt about why he feels MUN has been so heavy handed with him. Let’s give this a listen.

Matt Barter: They seem to be really wanted to punish me because they think I’m an easy target because I’m a student who has autism, they think of me as an easy target. I think that MUN sees me as somebody who they thought wouldn’t be able to stand up for themselves.

AG: Alright, so that’s Matt Barter. With respect to the autism, I understand what’s he’s trying to say that the university sees him as a soft target because I think they thought he was alone but there’s no evidence that MUN has some kind of anti-autism bent to it, is there?

KH: I’m just making a documentary and recording what people say.

AG: Alright, what drew you to this guy?

KH: I saw Matt around at a lot of arts events over the years, he goes to most arts events, he’s been at my films when they’re shown at the Nickel. He stands out, he’s a cute looking kid, he got the long hair. He’s usually by himself and very very adamant about what he believes in, he’s a big arts follower. So I knew him before all of this and I spoke to him a couple of times and so forth and then I saw what happened where he was banned from MUN for holding up a sign in a room and I thought okay this is going to be a massive story, this is going to be a big story, freedom of expression you know and what’s happening to it and it was initially for like a day.

AG: It flared up.

KH: Nationally as well right. And then I thought what happened? Does anybody care about this guy at all? Does anybody care. I interviewed, I don’t think people realize the damage that this kind of stuff does. I was in the tunnels interviewing Matt and a student came up who was an international student walked by and went “woah Matt I love the work you do,” he didn’t know him, “I love what you’re doing with the tuition hikes and it’s affecting us really deeply the international student community, it’s really bad and I support you 100 percent” and he said you know the problem is now that you know we really are afraid to speak up because of what happened to you and a lot of us are frightened. And if anything, it’s because of the repercussions from the university and I’ve had three people who I interviewed said the exact same thing.

AG: What about certain faculty come out and support? In fact, I think the former Provost Noreen Golfman has actually said. What do you make of the reaction from faculty and someone with the stature of Ms. Golfman?

KH: Well, I interviewed Noreen for the documentary and she’s you know in support of Matt. I mean she dealt with Matt extensively in her position over the years.

AG: I think she was leading protests when she was younger.

KH: Exactly but she would you know when Matt stood up and protest and did his thing, she would say to him “Matt are you finished? or we’re going to have a question period afterwards and you know you’re more than welcome to voice your opinion but let me finish what I’m saying. She didn’t ignore him.

AG: A different approach.

KH: Well, your president, you’re running a corporation, you really need to be able to deal with whatever comes your way.

AG: And dissent in the various forms. And the other thing is I think at some point Dr. Timmons suggested she was afraid for her safety so the accusations got kind of serious and I don’t know what the evidence was to be fearful but..

KH: Matt’s a sweet guy.

AG: So, the documentary, last question for you, it’s obviously underway, when do you think it’s going to be released? And how much work do you have left to do before it’s ready for a screening?

KH: It’s going to be in the fall of next year and we’re still looking for a network. My company, I’m an independent producer so I’ve done docs for the doc channel, CBC, Gem, and so forth so we do a trailer and then we pitch it, so we got to get the networks on board. But the trailer is on YouTube, and it’s called Matt holds up a sign if people want to have a look at it.

AG: Alright, put the link up on my Twitter account for that. Appreciate you coming in. Thank you very much.

KH: Thank you very much for your time.

AG: That’s Kenneth J. Harvey, he makes documentary films in St. John’s with Island Horse Productions. What do you make of the story? Of course, a bit of a saga with Matt. He’s been covered off and on, not as much as he would like to be covered I would tell you he’s persistent in terms of asking us when are you going to cover this aspect of the story but obviously with a documentary film, a good reason to sort of check in plus MUN is back in business more or less next week, students back in full I think the week after. Give our talkback line a call. What do you make about what happened to protests on campus? It used to be sign of a healthy student democracy, it does seem to be a bit muted of late. Toll-free 1-800-465-6846. Here in town 576-5207. Would love to hear from you. Send us an email as well if you like rather than your voice onthego@cbc.ca.

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN spends over $48K on Registrar search

ATIPP.

A recently obtained ATIPP reveals that Memorial University spent a total of $48,509.30 on the search for a new University Registrar. Recruitment costs came to $48,300.00 and hosting costs at $209.30. They recruitment company hired was Odgers Berndtson. See ATIPP documents below:

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN hires Registrar with over $174K salary

Lee Ann McKivor.

MUN hires Registrar with over $174K salary

A recently obtained ATIPP request reveals the starting salary of newly appointed University Registrar Dr. Lee Ann McKivor at $174,903 per year.

Dr. McKivor’s appointment took effective on August 15, 2022.

The university agreed to cover 100 percent of the costs of moving household goods and furnishings and familiarization/house hunting trips including 1 round-trip for herself and spouse for 3-4 nights accommodation and a further trip.

View employment contract below:

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

The Attempted Political Assassination of MUN Student Matt Barter 

Matt Barter.

Memorial University senior administration has attempted to assassinate the character of student activist and journalist Matt Barter. Their narrative has been that it is about “behaviour” and not activism, protest, and journalism.

In a statement from December of 2021, the university wrote that it does not comment on individual cases, but it can share general information about the Student Code of Conduct process, such as how perceived risk is needed for interim measures:

“For interim measures to be applied there has to be escalation, past patterns of behaviour and a perceived risk to the safety of individuals.”

“The freedom to express oneself does not protect behaviour that becomes harassing or intimidating. Behaviour that crosses that line takes itself into the realm of actionable conduct.”

In a March 11, 2022 email, Communications Manager David Sorensen wrote to a journalist that “this matter really has nothing to do with Mr. Barter’s right to protest, but rather the behaviour he exhibits toward other people in the university community.”

March 25 email.

In an email my lawyer Kyle Rees on March 25, 2022, Memorial General Counsel Scott Worsfold stated, “This behaviour is clearly not about protest and activism. The investigator found that activism and protest were indeed not the issue but rather his targeting, aggressive and harassing behaviour toward individuals… So again, activism is not the issue here – it is a purely behavioural issue which falls squarely within the code.”

I feel insulted by the position the General Counsel has taken and the words he has used to describe my work. In my opinion, it is a blatant attempt to smear me.

I believe Chief Risk Officer Greg McDougall has also used language meant to demean and smear me. McDougall’s December 8 complaint letter is loaded with terms like “intimidation,” “harassment,” “aggression,” “volatile,” and “unpredictable.”

I spent the last seven years of my life involved in student activism and protest on campus and have now written over 200 articles on my website including on topics like administrative bloat and the conditions of campus infrastructure. With the cessation of the print edition of the student newspaper The Muse, I am filling an important gap on information on administrative spending.

Scott Worsfold.

My silent protest was the textbook definition of protest. Both Jim Turk, director of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Centre for Free Expression and Cara Zwibel, Director of Fundamental Freedoms at Canadian Civil Liberties Association have supported this position. These two civil liberties experts agree that my Charter rights have been violated. More importantly, members of the public have strongly supported me, including with generous donations to my legal fund.

For Memorial University to reduce my work to a “purely behavioural issue” is demeaning. I have no choice but to take Memorial University to court to try my best to reverse all that has been done to me by the university.

Importantly, General Counsel Scott Worsfold mentions an investigation onto my protest. As part of the Student Code of Conduct process, Memorial University indeed hired lawyer Kimberley Horwood to conduct an investigation. The process cost the university over $9,000 but it wasn’t without fault. My lawyer argued both parties should agree on an investigator to avoid potential issues. Unfortunately, this reasonable request was denied. As we feared, the report produced by Ms. Horwood came with what we perceive as critical flaws.

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

“Extreme” sanctions imposed on MUN student protestor, says CCLA Director of Fundamental Freedoms

Cara Zwibel.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association Director of Fundamental Freedoms Cara Zwibel said in an article in ricochet that Memorial University’s interim sanctions against Barter (me) have been “extreme” and that there’s a “decent argument” Memorial has violated my Charter rights.

Zwibel said that universities’ weaponization of student conduct policies to silence dissent represents a serious attack on free expression.

Zwibel disagreed with Chief Risk Officer Greg McDougall’s and President Vianne Timmons’ framing of the issue. She said what she sees in the investigator’s report about my behaviour “doesn’t jump out […] as being intimidating or threatening.”

While my actions may have been “annoying and irritating, and frustrating for someone in the administration who feels like they’re constantly being criticized,” she saif, “I think that’s sort of what the job is about.”

If the university has a case against me based on a pattern of behaviour that amounts to harassment, and my protest was “the straw that broke the camel’s back… this doesn’t seem like a particularly strong case to me” said Zqibel.

Zwibel stated that while the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of expression “in very broad terms,” any form of expression involving violence is treated differently. “Once you start to say this is violence, or this makes me unsafe, there’s just no application here,” she explained.

“And you see elements of that in [Barter’s] case, where it seems that some of the university administration is saying, we’re all for protest but that’s not what this is — it’s something different. And that line between intimidation and when acts are experienced as threatening to people, there’s a really subjective element to it. And I think it’s a problem here.”

Zwibel stated, “I was surprised this was a hill that the university would choose to die on.”

“It may have been experienced by people at the particular event as intimidating or threatening in some ways, but it seems like a relatively low key way of protesting.”

“And certainly there seems to be some suggestion [that] this wasn’t the right time or the right place, and it wasn’t relevant. That’s not really how protest works; the individual or the cause that you’re protesting against doesn’t get to tell you where and when you can make your case.”

“There are questions around the extent to which the Charter applies to universities, and whether they’re part of government in this context,” sayd Zwibel. “I think in this context there’s probably a decent argument that the Charter is directly engaged, but […] certainly there were some procedural fairness issues that came up here, and the fact that he was subjected to some sanctions before there was any investigation.

“If he had come onto campus with a knife or some other egregious act, I could understand that step being taken, but this is not that,” Zwibel said, adding that my partial ban from campus and having to submit to surveillance are “fairly extreme sanctions.”

Zwibel warned that it is not just the code itself that needs to be revisited, but the implementation process as well.

“It seems to me that maybe there should be a different process in place when the complainant is a member of the administration. I think I had always thought of these codes of conduct as a way to protect students from other students, but there’s a different power dynamic at play when you have a member of the administration involved.”

She warned that any time the code is invoked, the university is sending a message, and that targeting student protestors could have a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression at universities.

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

“Bullshit” allegation against MUN student activist, says civil liberties expert

Jim Turk.

Jim Turk, director of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Centre for Free Expression, told Ricochet in April 2022 that “no university should be attempting to restrict basic expressive freedom rights that citizens have in Canada, and students shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer and go to court to have their expressive freedom rights upheld.”

Turk reviewed the investigator’s report and said that “the whole thing is loaded against him in ways that are inappropriate,” and that Memorial’s treatment of me could deter students from participating in protest at a formative time and place in their lives for political and civic engagement.

Turk stated that universities’ weaponization of student conduct policies to silence dissent represents a serious attack on free expression.

Turk also stated that my protest action in December is “exactly” what silent protest is. “Freedom of expression is about the right to express yourself and being able to hear what you want to hear,” he said.

Regarding myself, Turk said, “He was expressing himself but he was not preventing the audience from hearing what was going on in any way. So it seems to me that’s precisely within the bounds of what the code of conduct allows.”

“Effective protest always makes people feel uncomfortable. It’s when that protest crosses the line and inflicts bodily harm on them or prevents people from speaking or people from hearing that it crosses the line at the university. But he did none of those things” Turk said.

McDougall told Horwood that my actions “crossed a line” when I “slapped something on the podium while Timmons was talking,” and when I “violated her personal space, contrary to COVID protocols [and] took a selfie while doing it, the purpose of which could only be to humiliate, intimidate, or try to show domination over, Timmons.”

Turk called this allegation “bullshit,” and stated that activists always document their protests. My lawyer Kyle Rees also questioned the credibility of McDougall’s claim and asked in his letter to Browne, “Has there ever been a protest where people did not take pictures? Protests that were not documented? How would we know about political struggle but for those who document same?”

Turk said that he does not see any evidence in the investigation that my protest represents discrimination against women. “Targeting her, a case of one, is not a way of proving a general implication that he’s some sort of misogynist,” Turk said.

Turk also said that Timmons’ allegation that my protest against her is personal does not hold up to scrutiny as I have repeatedly criticized the university administration’s fiscal policies, including tuition fee increases, under Timmons’ leadership and also under the leadership of former President Gary Kachanoski.

“Is he ever attacking her except in relation to her role in pushing this policy?” Turk asked. “Personal attacks, it seems to me, would be saying she’s a terrible mother […] or she’s a violent person — not going after her because she’s the president of the university or because of the policy that the university is pursuing.”

Turk disputed Horwood’s conclusion that my protest “was only conducted for the purpose of tormenting or otherwise harassing Timmons.”

“I take it that if Timmons called for a reduction in student fees, Matt would be praising her,” he said. “I mean, that’s the test. If it’s personal, he’ll attack her no matter what she does. But if he’s attacking her because of her policy position, that ipso facto doesn’t make it a personal attack, I don’t think.”

Turk said that universities’ creation and use of codes of conduct to silence dissent is a generational battle with flashpoints in other provinces.

“The test of a student code of conduct, for me, is: is it consistent with the fundamental values reflected in our Charter with regard to freedom of expression?” said Turk. “And stopping people from protesting when it’s not violent or not stopping events from happening would be inconsistent with our Charter protections for freedom of assembly, for freedom of expression.”

Turk said that “one of the purposes of the university is to help people become more effective, engaged citizens in a democratic society, which means modeling the kind of behaviour and values that we have as a society.”

“Our Charter claims one of the fundamental freedoms in Canada is freedom of expression, so you certainly wouldn’t want a university being a model for more repression of freedom of expression than is a general citizen’s right on a street corner in the town in which the university is located,” said Turk.

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN Spends Over $9K to Investigate Student Protestor

ATIPP.

Memorial University hired an investigator, Lawyer Kimberley Horwood, as part of the Student Code of Conduct complaint by the Chief Risk Officer Greg McDougall against student activist Matt Barter. She was paid $9,113.75 by the university just to conduct an investigation, according to a recently obtained ATIPP request.

This is just one of the expenses MUN has had in this investigation. It is noteworthy that employees paid by the university have been involved in this case, too. MUN has lawyers and other professionals on its payroll who have taken part in my case.

I have long published examples of what I see as administrative bloat at the university. In my opinion, the case against me is yet another example of this kind of spending. It’s not hard to imagine how $9,000 could have been better spent to benefit the university community. Even accounting for the over 100% increase in tuition coming into place this year, $9,000 would be enough to pay for 15 courses. Instead of investigating me, couldn’t MUN have been spent this money giving a scholarship to a disadvantaged student?

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to spent money like MUN does, which is why I have started a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise the funds I need to bring MUN to court. You can contribute here.

View ATIPP below:

Download ATIPP file below:

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN Reimagining Leadership 2022 Revenue & Expenses

ATIPP.

A recently obtained ATIPP request reveals the revenue and expenses of Memorial University’s Reimagining Leadership 2022 conference. Download ATIPP file below:

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.